The Smashing Pumpkins’ journey following their 1990s heyday has been an interesting one. After selling over 20 million albums in the US alone and forming a cornerstone of the grunge-rock movement, things went awry in more ways than one.
Their 2016 nostalgia tour was an interesting debacle for a number of reasons, not least because frontman Billy Corgan made an appearance on Alex Jones’ berserk conspiracy podcast Infowars in the run-up.
He used the platform to voice his hatred for “social justice warriors” and his love of “Jones Super Male Vitality” supplement in one of the most bizarre tour publicity interviews of all time. Following that sort of endorsement, a tour, for once, might have seemed like a safe refuge of relative normality, but things continued to venture towards the strange even during the shows themselves.
At a show at the Orpheum in Memphis, Tennessee, the band regaled the crowd with a rendition of ‘Angie’ by The Rolling Stones, which is perhaps the least befitting song in either band’s back catalogue to invade the stage too. Nevertheless, the mellowed out acoustic tune did not stop a hapless fan clambering on stage. The guys seemingly interrupted the droning ballad without a plan or a hope and proceeded to stand alongside Corgan simply shrugging as though awaiting a command from the audience.
The only command forthcoming was from Corgan himself who interrupted the morose melody of ‘Angie’ to tell the shrugging goon, “Get the fuck off my stage before I punch you in the fucking face.”
The aggression from Corgan seems wildly incongruous with the fans rather tame antics. While it could certainly be argued that a fan invading the stage has inherent dangers, Corgan’s lambasting seems oddly out of place and an awkward tension descends upon the already subdued audience.
The fan makes a hasty return to the crowd and Corgan paces for a while, as though indignantly seething with rage, before returning to the maudlin drawl of ‘Angie’ upon his acoustic guitar.
See the footage, below.